Seeing from within

 

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

1.3 Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam

“When that is accomplished/Then, the seer abides in his own true nature”

For most of us, our minds are in a daily state of turmoil. At any one point in time we could be feeling strong emotions, clinging on to a past thought or experience, unable to let go, or filled with fear and anxiety for the future.

This verse tells us that it is only when the mind is still, and our inner vision clear and unobstructed,  that our soul within can rest peacefully and regain its self-awareness. With a clear mind that doesn’t present any contaminated thoughts, the soul can experience its own pure, divine nature and illuminate our lives from within.

Yoga helps us to cultivate a disciplined, focused and still mind. Once the mind is still, settled and clear, we gain clearer perception and learn to distinguish the fluctuating and impermanent mind, body and emotions from the true essence or Self. We can begin to see the world calmly and with detachment and cultivate a greater connection with our authentic Self. Material objects will neither be “good” nor “bad”, “pleasant” not “unpleasant”, but merely neutral, as it is our attitude towards them and pre-formed notions or judgements that give them the added connotation of being positive or negative. Once we realise this, we find that we have no reason to be agitated, and can be free from disturbances and suffering.

This is the aim of yoga, to distinguish between the mind and the Self, to connect with and act from the Self, and as a result, suffer less. As we continue to deepen our yoga practice, we should remember that yoga is not just about the asanas or how beautifully we can execute a pose. Without linking our yoga practice to more meaningful intentions to improve ourselves and unite our mind with breath, asanas become just physical activity.

 

Joanna Khoo

200hr weekend Jan – May 2014

 

References

Kate Holcombe “Ultimate Practice”, accessed online at Yoga Journal http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/2658

Edwin F. Bryant (2009) The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali : A New Edition, Translation, and Commentary

Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Yoga Sutra 1.3 Translation and Commentary, accessed online at https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-sutra-1-3-translation-and-commentary